Thursday, 1 March 2012

The pecking order

I don't have to venture too far from my front door these days for a bit of subterfuge and political intrigue.    Yes, it's that time when the middle classes - or those that aspire to be - get their knickers in a twist about choosing a school for their kids.  Of course, to a large degree the school is important.  Let face it, I'm still pretty pissed off that my school was lame.  I remained convinced for many years that with more professional teachers doling out hefty dollops of care and inspiration that I could have achieved brilliance.  Not a thought crossed my mind in this time that if I hadn't discovered pubs, sex and recreational drugs towards the end of my education I might have done a tadge better.  Oh no.  It was down to the lame teachers.  Mr Melvin, you know who you are.  You were the king of this genre and I trust you are now safely ensconced in a clerical role.

It comes down to this.  We live in an okay area. There is a logical next step High School within walking distance.  Right - statistics checked, visit made, application filled out, job done.

But it's not that simple.  Having made what I consider to be the logical choice for the next three years I suddenly find that I seem to be somewhat on my own in this.  This is sort of fine - I was never really one to follow the crowd...but what are we going to be left with?  You see, I was sort of depending on the majority people who I considered to be my peers on sending their kids there too.  They generally have good kids and I like having them around...but it seems that I had underestimated their parents’ deep religious beliefs (in some but not all cases) and many are trying their hands elsewhere.  So, if they are going to 'better' lands, then what are we left with?  I strongly suspect that we are left with the two cub scouts who spent the entire open evening whacking each other over the head with rolled up paper.  And lots like them.  But worse.

Parents are exercising their choice.  Their choice to indulge government set performance indicators and use their local community as somewhere to sleep and park the car between self inflicted 'hellish' school runs, work and the gym.

So here's my revised plan.  We take a close interest in our children's schooling and make sure that they are achieving within the crippling confines that we have imposed by choosing the school on our doorstep.  We ignore the looks of pity (or belief that we are of a lower social order) from those who have chosen a more prestigious school and we try our damnedest to educate our children ourselves in terms of academia, art and moral values,  because it feels like we're virtually on our own here.

And if the school turns out to be okay we'll allow ourselves a self congratulatory smirk.  We're only human after all...